Germany's Merkel Remains Cautious over Romania's Schengen Bid

Politics » DIPLOMACY | February 27, 2015, Friday // 09:58
Bulgaria: Germany's Merkel Remains Cautious over Romania's Schengen Bid Angela Merkel and Kalus Iohannis Photo: EPA/BGNES

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis met in Berlin Thursday to discuss the possible Schengen accession of the Balkan country.

"Romania has a legitimate desire to be part of the Schengen Zone. We'll see that we achieve step-by-step progress on this," Merkel said, as quoted by Deutsche Welle.

She added that the last several EU reports on Romania have been reflecting the positive tendency in the country's development, but for the time being there is no answer to the question of when the Schengen accession can happen.

Both Merkel and Iohannis agreed on a stance that workers coming from Romania to Germany are qualified professionals, thus opposing the opinion that most of the emigrants are poor and would rely on social welfare.

Both Romania and Bulgaria were put on hold for Schengen ever since their accession to the EU in 2007. Among the main reasons pointed out were corruption, organized crime, lack of political willingness to cope with the problems and lack of transparency on various policies.

Despite the fact that Romania has showed improvements in their judiciary especially in anti-corruption activities, the progress does not seem sufficient to EU authorities. Over the past two years Romania has sentenced a former Prime Minister, over ten other ministers, and hundreds of corrupt employees of the judiciary, customs and taxation offices.

After the meeting in Berlin, current Romanian PM Viktor Ponta stated his indignation with the situation, deeming it ''humiliating''. He announced in Parliament that the Schengen accession need no longer be a priority for his government. 

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Tags: viktor ponta, Romania, Germany, Schengen, EU, Balkans, Kalus Iohannis, accession, corruption, organized crime, political, transparency, Angela Merkel
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